What on earth has happened to North Carolina? This is a team that had dreams of winning the ACC coastal division title and competing for a conference championship. This is a team that went 8-4 last season and returned quarterback Bryn Renner with a wealth of options at tight end and receiver. UNC was one of the favorites to win the division this season, but now they will be fighting just to become bowl eligible with their current 1-3 record. It all started on the opening night in College Football when they traveled to Columbia, SC to take on the South Carolina Gamecocks. Many thought, myself included, that the Heels would have a good showing and make Spurrier’s squad work for a win. Boy was I wrong. The Gamecocks went up 17-0 in the first quarter and never looked back en route to a 27-10 win. UNC’s offense looked out of sync, and never really tested the South Carolina secondary.
Following that loss, the Tar Heels beat Middle Tennessee 40-20, but still looked like a team that was searching for answers. They would not find them in the next game as they lost to Georgia Tech 28-20. They gave up over 300 rushing yards to the Yellow Jackets and still look as if they cannot figure out the triple option offense at all. With seven starters returning on defense you would think that the unit would be improved, but it has taken steps back instead. North Carolina’s most recent debacle came last weekend at the hands of East Carolina. The Pirates dominated the game from start to finish racking up 55 points. UNC put up 31 points, but it did not matter because their defense could not slow anybody down. ECU scored at least 13 points in each quarter and made the ACC team look like an FCS team.
The road does not get any easier for the Tar Heels as they travel to Blacksburg, VA to take on Virginia Tech. The Hokies have the best defense in the conference and just shut down Georgia Tech, holding them to 273 total yards. It is going to be tough for Larry Fedora’s offense to move the ball against Bud Foster’s defense, who is playing lights out at the moment. The good news for Tar Heel fans is that Virginia Tech’s offense has struggled all year, though Logan Thomas did put up decent numbers last week against the Yellow Jackets. North Carolina will get a bye week after their game this weekend, before they take on a much-improved Miami team. We could be sitting halfway through the season with North Carolina supporting a 1-5 record. I would not be shocked if Fedora gets the axe, if the Heels do not turn this disaster around. This much we do know; this weekend is a must win for North Carolina.
Travis Patterson, Writer for ACC Rantsports.com. Follow on Twitter @tpat20. https://twitter.com/tpat20